Tenant’s may file a demurrer in a California eviction case to get the court’s ruling on the formal or legal sufficiency of allegations in the landlord’s complaint. The tenant’s demurrer in the Unlawful Detainer eviction case might challenge, among other things:
- The court’s subject matter jurisdiction
- The complaint fails to state a cause of action permissible in an unlawful detainer
- The plaintiff lacks legal capacity to sue
- The parties are not in a landlord-tenant relationship
- The complaint was filed too early
- The complaint fails to describe the property
- The complaint does not include a copy of the written rental agreement or termination notice
- The tenant is no longer in possession
- The complaint does not request possession
In many cases in which the tenant files a demurrer in an unlawful detainer case, the demurrer is nothing more than a “delay” tactic. A good attorney might be able to speed up the demurrer process, thereby saving the landlord time and money.
If the tenant’s demurrer holds merit and the landlord’s complaint is fatally defective, it might be faster and cheaper to dismiss the case and start over. For example, starting over is probably the best option if the termination notice is defective or was improperly served. On the other hand, if the complaint is not fatally defective and can simply be amended, then this might be the better option for the landlord. Sometimes, the demurrer has no merits whatsoever, but the landlord still needs to respond to it.
If your tenant files a demurrer in your unlawful detainer eviction case, you should contact a competent attorney immediately.
Read Attorney Piotrowski’s “Landlord Best Practices and Eviction Overview” book.
The Law Office of David Piotrowski represents landlords throughout southern California and can assist with a tenant eviction.
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